100 things I hate about television

I don’t know if I can actually make it to 100, but we’ll see.

1. The preponderance of lethal violence.

Television writers who show violence through their portrayals of criminals or mentally unbalanced individuals like to claim that they are simply showing reality. But the actual reality is that in a nation of 300 million people, only 16,137 people were murdered in 2004. This is one in every 18,591 people, which means the average American has a .00538 percent chance of becoming a murder victim.

The televised murder rate, on the other hand, has to be something on the order of one in thirty. With only thirty or so characters on a show, one or two people are usually getting whacked despite the stupendous odds against this. This is only realistic in comparison with portrayals of faster-than-light space travel, alien invasions and straight women’s basketball coaches.

And don’t give me the excuse that this surfeit of unlikely violence exists only because it’s a police show or whatever. The average police officer never once fires his gun in the line of duty over the course of his career. In fact, I would surmise that there are probably more TV criminals killed by TV police in a single season of television than there are real criminals killed by real police over an entire year.